Woodlands style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Woodlands style, also called the Woodlands school, Legend painting, Medicine painting,[1] and Anishnabe painting, is a genre of painting among First Nations and Native American artists from the Great Lakes area, including northern Ontario and southwestern Manitoba. The majority of the Woodland artists belong to the Anishinaabeg, notably the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, as well as the Oji-Cree and the Cree.


The style was founded by Norval Morrisseau (Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabe), a First Nations Ojibwe artist from Northern Ontario, Canada.[2] He learned Ojibwe history and culture primarily from his grandfather Moses "Potan" Nanakonagos and in the 1950s collected oral history of his community. Their history and cosmology has provided inspiration and subject matter for his paintings. His also drew upon his personal dreams, visions,[1] Morrisseau said, "all my painting and drawing is really a continuation of the shaman's scrolls."[3] and the Eckankar religion.[4] Ojibwe intaglio, pictographs, petrographs rock art and birch bark scrolls, Wiigwaasabak, were stylistic antecedents of the Woodland style.


This visionary style emphasizes outlines and X-ray views of people, animals, and plant life.[1] Colours are vivid, even garish. While Morrisseau painted on birch bark initially, the media of Woodland style tends to be Western, such as acrylic, gouache, or watercolor paints on paper, wood panels, or canvas.

Woodland style artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Norval Morrisseau." Native American Artworld. (retrieved 25 Oct 2010)
  2. ^ Berlo and Phillips 229
  3. ^ Berlo and Phillips 230
  4. ^ Rockingham, Graham (October 11, 2018). "The AGH Norval Morrisseau collection finally gets its day". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Artistic community mourns loss of Ahmoo Angeconeb, 62, of Lac Seul First Nation". CBC News. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Berlo and Phillips 231
  7. ^ "Artist and Scholar List". First American Art Magazine. Retrieved 8 July 2016.


  • Berlo, Janet C. and Ruth B. Phillips. Native North American Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: 97-8. ISBN 978-0-19-284218-3.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dawson, K.C.A. (1966) "The Kaministikwia Itaglio Dog Effigy Mound." Ontario Archeology. No.9 (June):25-84.
  • Pollack, Jack. The Art of Norval Morrisseau. Toronto: Metheren Press, 1979. ASIN B001BY1VHU.
  • Rajnovich, Grace. "Reading Rock Art." Interpreting the Indian Rock Paintings of the Canadian Shield. Dundum Press Ltd., 1994'
  • Robinson, Donald C. Travels To the House of Invention. Bolton, Ontario: Key Porter Books, Ltd., 1997. ISBN 1-55013-880-4.
  • Selwyn Dewdney and King Kenneth E. Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes. University of Toronto Press, 1967.

External links[edit]